The Magnolia Garden is situated on the northern most boundaries and comprises a long, linear space that merges with the conifer zone and the avenue of Liquidambar trees. The area is very popular with visitors in the spring, during flowering season and particularly so in the autumn as the Liquidambar trees display their magnificent autumn color. Although the landscape was subject to some fairly recent improvements, the sheer volume of visitors had resulted in a significant amount of environmental damage and many of the under plantings were in poor condition. The degree and extent of soil compaction was also a concern in relation to the long term health of the trees.
A two part plan was devised for the renovation of this area. This first stage of the renovation involved the refurbishment of all existing areas of groundcover and the addition of many new under-storey plantings. This work was completed in 2010. The second phase of the renovation is more concerned with hard landscape features, especially those that assist in visitor guidance and management. The second phase will be implemented in the early part of 2012.
The soft landscaping was designed with subtlety in mind and plantings of shade tolerant evergreen herbaceous perennials, particularly Aspidistra ***** and several species of fern, provide a gentle carpet of green beneath the trees. This herb layer is easy on the eye and robust enough to suppress or prevent the growth of the few weeds that can tolerate the dry shade that characterizes this part of the garden.